Selfishness & Addiction

The selfishness of a person who has a physical dependence is something that most of us do not understand. The addiction can manifest itself at any time. The person who drinks becomes another person. There is a total transformation. The person who is an alcoholic will always find an excuse to drink. The story changes, but the outcome is the same: The drunk will be drunk no matter what.

“It’s always everyone’s fault but your own”

It’s always everyone’s fault but your own, there is an excuse to start drinking, someone was mean to me, the pressures of the new job, the demands of the old job, my family hates me. Sometimes we can’t let go of the past; we recollect done-wrong incidents done to us as a little child and carry that anger and pity. Another excuse to drink.

The addicted can drink to celebrate a promotion, graduation from college, finishing a particularly long and arduous project. Using the opportunity to drink and celebrate the occasion. The drink gets out of control, and soon you have a person on a bender for several days. Meanwhile, the family, the job, eating, working, daily tasks, getting up, etc. are meaningless and not needed. This negative spiral can last a few days until the person is not able to function, and someone else needs to get them to stop drinking and sober up.

Woe is me, look how unhappy I am; the addicted can drink to drown his sorrows, to lay blame on loved ones, or anyone else in their lives. He drinks for everything that is wrong with his life. Everyone but he has done something wrong to put him there. Furthermore, the addict probably has an inner voice that is telling her what to say and do, how to act, lie, cheat, and steal to keep getting what they want. To feed the addiction. It’s a self-fulfilling spiral that feeds on itself. Recriminations and laying blame come out, and the people who love and care about the addicted are the ones caught in the crossfire. Drinking is a way to drown the sad voice inside for a little while, at least. Alcohol is a way to escape the hopelessness of the situation. Drinking to shut the angry voice that’s telling me that I’m inadequate and that I will never amount to anything. Drinking because I could. Someone who loves me will always be there to pick me up when I’m done. Loved ones are usually left to pick up the pieces after one of these binges. Loved ones are generally the enablers because they are blind to the situation. And, they feel powerless to do something about it without hurting the addicted.

That little voice can sometimes be cruel and get us to do something rash, impulsive such as driving drunk at high speed, take pills, or try other methods of hurting oneself. These are cries for help that loved ones need to recognize and get professional help for the individual. In the end, the need for getting help must be real. If the person does not believe she has a problem, she will not do something about it.

The person must hit rock bottom and has nowhere to go but up. The individual must accept that she has a problem and needs help. Then, and only then, will the person seek real advice and start the long road to recovery. A person in an AA meeting told me that she only opened her eyes to her drinking problem after her parents kicked her out of their house and their lives. Do you know how difficult that was, how guilty those parents must have felt? It goes against the grain to practice tough love on a child of yours that has this huge problem. But, doing that took courage and left the young woman to deal with the problem by herself and made the problem real to her.

I titled this piece “selfish drunk” and started by talking about the selfishness of someone with an addiction. The person will lie, cheat, steal, blow off friends, family and coworkers, job, school. Anything to get what they want. The loved must be strong and not enable the addicted to continue the pattern of self-destruction. Recognizing an addiction by a loved one is just as important as the person himself recognizing the need to help. Therapy, medication, and AA meetings are needed to get the person to stop this harmful and damaging behavior. Only with a lot of professional treatment and a robust support system does the person with an addiction have a chance to get her addiction under control and manageable.